“Melie, no, please,” he begged.
“We’re going, whether I have to drag you. And Caelan has to stay home. I have a special surprise lined up for you two.”
“Oh, gods forbid you do something you did like you did last year.”
“Shut up, you loved it.”
“I’m sure... Will Alix be joining us?”
“If she can fly over for then, yeah. Either way, girls’ day out!”
“I’m not a girl,” Zeke groaned.
“No, but you’re gay so you count.”
“If it was anyone but me you said that to, it would be classed as homophobic.”
“Oh shut up, you whining chipmunk,” Melissa snapped.
“Drunk wombat,” Zeke came back with.
“Bean flicker.” A wide smile was slowly making its way onto Zeke’s face as he insulted his friend.
“Bender,” Melissa retorted.
“I hate you.”
“I hate you too, Smelie,” Zeke grinned.
“Just because your name doesn’t shorten to anything stupid!” Melissa mumbled angrily.
“Love you really, Mel.”
You could hear the smile in her voice. “Love you too. We’ll see you next week, yeah?”
They hung up, leaving Zeke with a smile on his face.
“Hey, you alright now?” Beth asked him.
He looked up. “Yeah, I’m okay. Thank you.”
“No problem. What was it about, your dream?”
Zeke shook his head slowly and sighed, making Beth think he wasn’t going to tell her.
“I... often have nightmares where I’m trying to run away from... something. I don’t know what. I get tired and I sit down. But then a bat flies over and lands in front of me. It usually just sits and stares at me, but tonight it spoke to me,” he told her, ending in a whisper.
“What did it say?”
“My name. And that he’s coming.”
“Who’s coming?” she asked, frowning.
He shrugged. “There are many people who could be coming to get me so I don’t know.”
“Anyone who would want to hurt you?”
“That doesn’t really narrow the list down much. We’ll have to see, really.”
“I suppose so. Who was that you were talking to on the phone?” she asked, trying to change the topic.
It worked, a smile pulling Zeke’s lips up at the corners.
“Melissa. A girl I met when I was in Kenya when I was younger.”
“When did you go to Kenya?”
“When I was eighteen. My uncle demanded that I had a break from Caelan. I met Melissa at the airport and found she was staying in the same hotel. We quickly became friends. She lives in Japan now though, so I don’t see her very often.”
“Oh, right. And I’m going to guess she’s gay...”
Zeke laughed. “Yeah. Alix is her girlfriend.”
Caelan shuffled into the kitchen, rubbing his eyes. His light blue t-shirt was hanging off one shoulder and his trousers were hanging low, revealing his hipbones. Zeke went over and pulled his trousers up a little and the shirt up onto both shoulders.